How to set up the ASUS Chromebook CX9 for working from home
The new ASUS Chromebook CX9 is the perfect machine for working from home. With an 11th generation Intel Tiger Lake processor and up to 16GB of RAM, you’ve got all the power you need in a business laptop. This is definitely the best ASUS Chromebook in quite some time. If you’re planning to do business from the comfort of your home, you’ll need a few things to get started.
First, it’s important to start with the right hardware. An external monitor, keyboard, and mouse can really improve your workflow. A desktop setup not only makes work more comfortable, it also increases productivity. You might also need a dock for connecting additional peripherals, depending on the nature of your work.
After you get the necessary hardware, it’s time to get all the software and apps you need for work on your ASUS Chromebook Cx9. Google’s Chrome OS has matured quite a bit over the past few years. There’s an app available on Chrome OS for just about every task you need to accomplish. Let’s get started on everything you need to set up the CX9 for working from home.
Setting up hardware needed to work from home
If you’re looking to work from home, it’s important to have the right tools. The spacious digital canvas provided by a large display can make a world of difference. To use that display, you’ll also need a quality keyboard, mouse, and docking station to take full advantage of everything your Chromebook CX9 offers. Here are the best options in each category.
Monitors come in a variety of sizes, and span the price spectrum from fairly cheap to incredibly expensive. When choosing an external monitor to use with your ASUS Chromebook CX9, you should carefully consider your use-case as well as your budget. Below, we’ve rounded up the best monitors for 4K performance, creative professionals, and those looking to get the best overall bang for their buck.
- The HP 24mh is a 24-inch budget monitor that offers a good set of features for the asking price. It uses an IPS panel which means better colors and viewing angles and also offers great sRGB coverage. The monitor also features three inputs (HDMI, DisplayPort, VGA), a functional stand with height, pivot, and tilt adjustment, as well as built-in speakers.
- The LG 29 inch ultrawide monitor should be great for users looking for loads of screen real estate. It comes with a 29 inch wide IPS panel offering a full-HD (2560 x 1080) resolution, 21:9 aspect ratio, 99% coverage of sRGB color gamut, HDR10, and AMD FreeSync.
Using an external monitor can provide more screen real estate, and docking stations can offer additional ports for multi-tasking. With your new mouse at the ready, you’ll need a quality keyboard to complete your workstation. When choosing a keyboard for daily use, you’ll want to have both comfort and reliability. There are a range of ergonomic designs, key layouts, and advanced features to consider when shopping for a keyboard. In this list we’ll take a look at the best keyboards to use with your Chromebook, at a variety of price points.
As a preliminary note, there aren’t very many keyboards designed specifically for Chrome OS. In order to offer a variety of options, we’ve also included keyboards designed for PC and Mac in this list. Keep in mind any of these keyboards can still work with your Chromebook, using F1-12 as a replacement for function keys. In addition, remember Chrome OS can run on a variety of hardware, so these keyboards will work for your tablet or Chromebox as well.
- If you’re looking for a keyboard built for Google, this is the one. Chrome OS function keys line the top of the keyboard, with a spacious number pad on the side. You also get a built-in Google Assistant key and easy switch capability for use with multiple devices.
- The Brydge C-Type wireless keyboard is a very stylish option with Chrome OS integration. As with the Logitech K580, you get a row of Chrome function keys at the top. The key travel on this keyboard is excellent and provides an enjoyable daily typing experience. On top of all those features, you get great battery life and a lifetime warranty.
When shopping for a new mouse to pair with your favorite Chromebook, comfort is king. In this list, we’ll prioritize the comfortable operation of each mouse over other advanced features. After considering day-to-day usage, we’ll look at battery life, price point, and of course integration with Chrome OS. Mice come in all shapes and sizes, so it’s worth viewing a large volume of options before reaching a final decision.
- Logitech’s M570 has a distinct and instantly recognizable form-factor. The giant teal trackball is easily spotted while the mouse is in use. If you do a lot of scrolling for work, and find a trackball comfortable, this is the best option by far. This is one of the most comfortable mice to use for long periods of time.
If you’re looking to use your Chromebook with an external monitor, you’ll likely want to add a docking station to increase the number of available ports. With a good docking solution, you can greatly expand your Chromebook’s versatility. You can use it to connect a mouse, a mechanical keyboard, external storage devices, multiple monitors, or all of them at once.
On top of that, with some docking stations, you can even keep your Chromebook charged as long as it has a compatible USB Type-C port or Thunderbolt port. Docking stations are great for students as well as business users that dock their machine at the office.
- The Tiergrade USB C Chromebook docking station is perfect for power users. It offers the widest selection of ports, including two USB 3.0 Type-A ports, two USB 2.0 Type-A ports, two USB 3.0 Type-C ports, two HDMI ports, a DisplayPort port, an RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet port, 3.5mm headphone and mic jacks, a S/PDIF audio port and a USB 3.0 Type-C port with 60W power delivery. On top of that, the dock also includes a full-sized SD card reader and a microSD card reader.
- The Baseus 16-in-1 Chromebook docking station is a cheaper alternative to the Tiergrade dock with a slightly different port selection. It includes three USB 3.0 Type-A ports, two USB 2.0 Type-A ports, two USB 3.0 Type-C ports, a USB type-C port with pass-through charging support, an RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet port, a 3.5mm headphone/mic combo jack, a microSD card slot, and an SD card slot. For display connectivity, it features a VGA port and an HDMI port. However, it only supports screen mirroring for dual external displays.
- The NOVOO 8-in-1 USB C dock is the tiniest Chromebook Docking Station on this list, earning it the most portable title. Despite its tiny size, it packs 3 USB 3.0 Type-A ports, an Ethernet port, a USB Type-C port with up to 100W passthrough charging, an HDMI port, and an SD card reader. That’s a lot of ports for something as tiny as this. Makes me wonder why some fruity OEMs can’t offer more than two USB Type-C ports on their laptops.
- If you’re not willing to spend $40 on a tiny USB C hub, then the Anker PowerExpand+ should be a better option. It’s slightly larger than the NOVOO USB C dock, but features the same number of ports. This includes two USB 3.0 Type-A ports, a USB Type-C port for data, a USB Type-C port with pass-through charging support at up to 100W, an HDMI port, and an SD card reader. It should get the job done if you have basic needs.
- The Sabrent Chromebook docking station is a good choice for Chromebooks with a detachable keyboard as it features a stand that you can use to prop up your Chromebook when you’re not using the included keyboard. In terms of ports, it offers two USB 3.0 Type-A ports, two USB 2.0 Type-A ports, two USB Type-A 2.4A fast charging ports, an HDMI port, a DVI port, a USB 3.0 input, 3.5mm headphone and mic jacks, and a RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet port.
- The Targus Chromebook docking station is a good 2-in-1 option that not only offers a decent selection of ports but also doubles up as an ergonomic stand. It includes 4 USB 3.0 Type-A ports, two DisplayPort ports, 2 HDMI 2.0 ports, a USB Type-C port with 60W pass-through charging support, a headphone / mic combo jack, and a RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet port.
Apps and software needed to work from home
With your new hardware ready to go, it’s time to get the apps and software you need to get down to business. First, you’re probably going to need attend a few video meetings if you’re working remotely. Thankfully, Chromebooks have access to the Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Google Meet platforms. Google and Zoom recently teamed up to create an improved Progressive Web App (PWA), to improve the Zoom video call experience on Chrome OS. Here are all the productivity apps you need to know about for your ASUS Chromebook CX9.
Video meeting apps
Google Meet is now a default web app, installed on all Chromebooks as of Chrome OS 92. This makes it the best choice for video meetings on your CX9. Of course, you may work somewhere that prefers to use Microsoft Teams or Zoom. The good news is both of these apps are also available as web apps. You can simply access the Teams web app at teams.microsoft.com.
On the other hand, Zoom’s PWA is available on the Google Play Store. To install the app, simply visit the link below and install as you would any other Android app.
Android productivity apps
Android apps run on all modern Chromebooks, and that includes the new ASUS Chromebook Cx9. The Google Play Store is the largest app marketplace in the world, providing plenty of productivity apps to use on Chrome OS. Below are some of the more popular picks you might need for working at home. For even more Android app suggestions, check out my full guide to Android apps on Chrome OS.
Lightroom is a photo editor with a fairly intuitive interface. If you’re not quite ready for the endless options in Photoshop, Lightroom might be the app for you. Easy image editing tools like sliders and filters for pictures simplify photo editing. Retouch full-resolution photos, apply photo filters, or start photo editing wherever you are. Experiment with and compare photo edits without losing the original and pick your favorite look.
Professional creators need the power of Photoshop on the go. Adobe’s Photoshop Express app for Android puts that power on your Chromebook. Photoshop Express delivers a full spectrum of tools and effects at your fingertips. Remove noise, instantly correct crooked images, or just use this pro tool to make sweet memes for Instagram.
Microsoft Office is the most popular productivity suite, offering Android apps for Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and so on. Overall, the Android version of each Office app runs quite well on Chrome OS. Basic editing features are free in all of the apps, but on devices over 10 inches in size — which accounts for most Chromebooks — you’ll need a Microsoft 365 subscription to enable all the features. Unfortunately, the Android version of OneDrive doesn’t work properly on Chromebooks. You can now download Word, Excel, and Powerpoint in a single app, making organizing your app drawer a bit easier.
Linux productivity apps
Linux apps offer even more functionality than the basic Android apps discussed above. If you’re a professional content creator or developer, you’ll definitely want to make use of Linux on your CX9. If you’re unfamiliar with running Linux apps on Chrome OS, see my full guide for details on how this works.
sudo apt-get install gimp -y
GIMP is a full-featured photo editing suite, similar to Photoshop but without the high price. If you’re a graphic designer transitioning to Chrome OS, you’ll find that GIMP is an indispensable tool. The functionality and file types are precisely aligned with what you would expect in other photo editing software. There are many advanced tools like layers, lasso and plenty of brushes to keep advanced users satisfied. If you need a photo editing app on your Chromebook, this is the only way to go.
sudo apt install -y libreoffice libreoffice-gtk3
Microsoft Office is the king of word processing on both PC and Mac, but your Chromebook comes with Google Docs as the default word processor. Perhaps you’d like a more robust program for editing documents and spreadsheets? If you need all of the functionality that Microsoft Office offers, Libre Office is a solid replacement. You also get a presentation app, similar to Powerpoint. Libre Office supports a large number of file formats ranging from Microsoft Word to Apple Pages and Keynote. With Libre Office, you’ll easily be able to continue business as usual on your Chromebook.
Visual Studio Code
- Download by visiting the Visual Studio Code download page and downloading the Debian file.
If you’re going to use your Chromebook for coding applications, Visual Studio Code is an excellent code editor. With support for several popular coding languages, you get auto-complete functionality and Git support for version control. With a slick UI, optional extensions, and theme support, this is a robust code editor that developers need on Chrome OS. Frequent coders might also consider picking up a nice docking station for their Chromebook, to enhance productivity.
sudo apt-get install audacity -y
For the creators out there, you might need a nice app to record or edit audio. This is an advanced audio editor and recorder that comes in handy when you want to play around with various audio files. Audacity has a lot of features that allow you to create your own unique tracks or remix other songs. There are also many plugins available for Audacity which will allow you to connect to sound equipment and other audio programs. Overall, this is the best audio editing app you can get on your Chrome OS device.
While Android and Linux apps cover most of the bases for working from home, you may have a few Windows apps you need to run for work. There isn’t a native way to run Windows apps on Chrome OS, but Parallels Desktop for Chrome OS offers a solution for enterprise customers.
Parallels Desktop is a full-featured Windows container that runs on Chrome OS. This software allows you to run the full version of Windows, but there are a few important things to be aware of.
The Parallels Desktop software is currently only available at scale to business customers, making this option of little use to individual users at the present time. With Parallels Desktop for Chrome OS, IT departments can enable proprietary and full-featured Windows applications — including native Microsoft Office — on Chrome OS devices, online and offline. You’ll need a Chrome Enterprise upgrade to run Parallels (see screenshot above).
If you’re an IT manager or have an enterprise Chromebook managed by your organization, check out my full tutorial on running Parallels Desktop on a Chromebook.
That’s everything you need to get up and running on your ASUS Chromebook CX9 at home. With the correct hardware and software, this machine is truly amazing for productivity. If you’re using the CX9 for remote work, tell us about your setup in the comments.